Covıd-19, Coronavirus, Vaccine

Covıd-19, Coronavirus

Commentary: Why many under 45 are hoping vaccination slots open in June

Commentary: Why many under 45 are hoping vaccination slots open in June

18/4/2021 2:42:00 AM

Commentary: Why many under 45 are hoping vaccination slots open in June

Those in Singapore under 45 may be able to sign up for vaccination starting June, says Senior Minister of Health Janil Puthucheary. Until then, ...

.Much depends on tech and diplomacy, in whether such certs can be secure and tamper-free, not to mention accepted and verifiable across countries, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung earlier pointed out in Parliament on Apr 5.The science must also bear out, with more data needed to assess if changes to border measures can be

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applied across all vaccines, as Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary added.Mr Edward Chew, a butler at Shangri-La Singapore, receiving his COVID-19 vaccination at Raffles City Convention Centre on Jan 28, 2021. (Photo: Calvin Oh)But setting aside the caveats, the upsides of establishing vaccination certs look pretty good, even outside the realm of leisure travel.

“People have missed important family occasions … if you have elderly parents in Malaysia you can’t go and see them, you can’t even go for funerals sometimes. By being disciplined about vaccinations, if we reduce our risk of infection, it will allow us certain freedoms.” Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian, member of Singapore’s Expert Committee for COVID-19 Vaccination, pointed out on the same podcast in January.

Easing travel restrictions could also help our economy, she said. “Travel is a lifeblood for Singapore, both as a transport and business hub. We know this virus can cause pre-symptomatic transmission … by vaccinating people, if you can drop that risk to 95 per cent, that is a huge thing in risk mitigation.”

A Japan Centre for Economic Research has also revised estimates of 2021 economic growth for Singapore from 4.5 per cent previously to 6.1 per cent, on the assumption of a successful vaccination programme.READ: Commentary: Japan’s slow-mo vaccination programme has a lot riding on it

Explaining how the effect will not be immediate, Prof Teo had also highlighted how people should refrain from procrastinating once a shot is available: “From the time of receiving a vaccine to the time it truly protects you, you’re looking at a month, five weeks or more … a vaccine by nature is meant to be preventive, to protect people.”

Perhaps that call to jettison a wait-and-see approach has been overly successful, when some eligible Singapore netizens in the 45 and above age groups say they’ve been waiting for a response after registering to no avail.We now know that 200,000 people aged 45 to 59 remain are on a holding list as of Apr 12 but should be receiving booking links by mid-May, according to the Health Ministry.

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(Listen to Prof Teo andAssociate Professor Lim the behind-the-scenes considerations and discussions going into what might be Singapore’s biggest vaccination programme ever on CNA's Heart of the Matter podcast:)KEEP CALM AND CARRY ONThen again, Singapore has not been under

“quite as much pressure”to get the population vaccinated quickly, given the low number of local cases, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview with the BBC in March.“There’s time for us to explain to people, persuade them and dispel their worries and anxieties and to do it in a systematic way,” he said, highlighting the benefits of taking a slow and steady approach that includes keeping a lid on infection numbers.

All things considered, perhaps Singapore’s vaccination programme is proceeding at a Goldilocks pace – not too fast to spook undecided folks but not too slow such that frustration breeds indifference or even resistance.Crucially, about 60 to 70 per cent of eligible seniors aged 60 and above have received vaccinations or booked their appointments.

READ: Commentary: This 71-year-old wants you to get a COVID-19 vaccine once you can. Here’s whySCDF officers assembled and ready for their vaccination at HQ SCDF. (Photo: Singapore Civil Defence Force)Still, PM Lee himself noted the importance of getting people vaccinated once shots are ready given the uncertainty COVID-19 has wrought on best laid plans: “The virus moves very quickly … Every time you think you are about safe to start (travel bubbles), something happens.”

To be sure, vaccination does not offer a panacea when there are still questions over how long immunity lasts for and to what extent transmission is prevented.News ofa dormitory residentcontracting the coronavirus despite having completed the full COVID-19 vaccination regimen has been a sobering reminder of that possibility.

For now, for those of us aged 45 and below looking forward to that possibility of getting our shots come June, as my astute friend noted, we can only keep calm and carry on. Read more: CNA »

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